So sad to say it was the last day of our Alsace fairytale villages adventure 🙁 We got up early and took some quick pics at the picturesque La Petite Venise when there was almost no one. The good thing about visiting in October was that sunrise was around 7:30 AM so you don’t need to wake up extra early for early morning photos without people.
We also made a quick picture stop at Point de vue sur La Petite Venise:
Then, we hit the road to Riquewihr; a 20 minutes drive passing through endless vineyards.
As we were approaching the town, flowers already lined the street:
We parked at the same parking lot as yesterday, the one nearest to Hotel De Ville and then walked into the town center.
There were early birds like us but not as bad as yesterday afternoon, it was so much easier to take photos and more enjoyable.
The main street is a long uphill street from Hotel De Ville to the clocktower as you can see on the back.
We caught a little bit of the sun coming out but the sky was still very cloudy. It was a huge difference in terms of the crowds, you need to get here before 9:30 AM, and that was when we first see the tour group arrive!
Same location yesterday afternoon:
The building with the huge painting right next to the clock tower, isn’t that incredible?
One of the side streets:
Colorful half-timbered houses well decorated with flowers.
The main street lined with beautiful and colorful half-timbered houses, mostly is shops and restaurants.
A cool-looking blue house with a tree/vine perfectly aligned with the door and windows!
Riquewihr is beautiful and certainly lived up to its name as one of the most beautiful villages in France along with Eguisheim. However, it was very busy and we were there in early October; I can’t imagine how busy it’ll be at Christmas market time!
We left at 9:30 and that was when the first bus tour group arrived, next stop: Ribeauvillé – only a 10 minutes drive away! There was a big parking lot for cars and buses right at the front of the town entrance and also a smaller lot on the side that is lined with foliage trees. Parking was a lot cheaper – €2 for 4 hours!!!
At the entrance of the main street is the tourism office:
Tourists were already there but not as bad.
A unique feature of Ribeauvillé is the Château de Saint-Ulrich as a backdrop which makes it extra fairytale-like!
The main street is filled with shops and restaurants, nicely decorated with flowers and colorful half-timbered houses. The only thing that I don’t like about it is that there are cars constantly coming in, I don’t think it restricted access to resident-only like in Riquewihr.
A few moments of sunshine before that disappeared…
A bigger half-timbered house which consisted of a bookstore (left) and a restaurant serving German cuisine (right).
There were even horses passing by…the street was busy!
You can find some peace at one of the side streets:
Look at that huge stork nest on top of that house!!!
Most stores sell local specialties like sausage, cheese, foie gras, and of course their famous wines!
The street goes on and on and on…and I enjoyed every step of it 🙂
This house in the middle is a tapas bar but only opens for dinner.
A hotel tucked inside one of the side streets:
Time really flies, it was lunchtime and we had difficulty getting a table at three highly-rated restaurants on my list. The big tourist towns were super busy which I did not expect during early October. We ended up having lunch at the German restaurant near the front of the town entrance – Winstub Zum Pfifferhus. It was pretty full too so luckily we got there early.
Jason ordered the escargot as the appetizer:
Being a German restaurant, the menu is heavily meat-based; Jason ordered the pork knuckle. The taste was okay but after a few bites, you really want more vegetables!
I have no idea what this is called but I saw the lady next to us was having that so I asked the waitress to order it. It was like slow-cooked pork chunks inside a crispy bun filled with gravy. It was tasty at first and then it got so heavy after a few bites. We need more vegetables!!!
Service got really slow because all the tables were full and everyone was finishing up at the same time. The lady couldn’t keep up with the number of customers and she forgot our dessert! We waited over 15 minutes, while the table next to us was waiting for their bill, so I decided to walk up instead to ask for the bill. That was when the lady asked if we would still like our dessert (included in the set menu). It was raining outside so sure we can have ice cream.
The bill was just €45, not expensive like other meals and was good (if you like meat). One meal was fine, I can’t imagine having that every day. The rain stopped but it was occasionally drizzling. We kept walking and when we thought the clock tower marked the end of the town, we were quite surprised that there is still another section of the town! Ribeauvillé is long and larger than other towns/villages we have visited except for Colmar!
Right after the clock tower, we saw cute bird feeders hanging on a tree outside a souvenir shop and colorful glass birds hanging on the window. Those attracted us to check out the shop. The shop is called La Tour Enchantee:
Actually, those birds are made out of plastic instead of glass which makes them easier to bring home. We got one with blue, pink, and green color combinations. I asked if there was one with blue, pink, and purple but unfortunately, he doesn’t have it. Everything in the shop were handmade by himself!
We also got this girl figure but a smaller version in a blue dress with purple flowers. My daughter loves blue so everything that we buy for her must in blue 😛
Another section of town behind the clock tower!
A quiet street filled with flowers and vines!
Every town and village must have a water fountain and there it is – Fontaine au Cerf:
It started to drizzle so we hide under one of those houses for cover.
The only thing I would complain is the cars blocking the charming houses, otherwise, the photos would look like back in time!
We finally reached the end of the main street, Grand’Rue, and turned back. According to Google Maps, this Grand’Rue is 0.6 mile long so walking back to the parking lot was more than a mile round trip, good exercise 😀
Next stop to Hunawihr – a barely 6 minutes drive away! A small village with a beautiful Fortified Church surrounded by vineyards. I saw the photo and we need to find the location. With some guesswork, we parked on the small parking lot underneath the church, it was free parking, and walked up toward the vineyards:
There we saw the church but not at the right angle so we continued to walk to higher ground…
We stopped at this angle that we like and took photos. Looking closely, far up the hills behind the church are three castle ruins…one is the Château de Saint-Ulrich that we saw as the backdrop at Ribeauvillé.
The grapes had harvested but a few here and there; those were very sweet no wonder this region is famous for wines! We were there too early as the leaves on the vines haven’t fully changed to golden yellow color yet. It must be a scene when all the leaves turned color!
Hunawihr was a quick photo stop and we still have time so we drove to Bergheim – a 9 minutes drive away. Free parking at Bergheim as well right in front of the clock tower.
One side of the street was lined with trees and flower pots, that is different than other towns and villages.
As expected, it was very quiet here with a few restaurants and I don’t think I saw a souvenir shop.
Half of this tree turned color, bright red which was hardly seen in Alsace.
What a narrow house…hum…where is the entrance?
The cloud cleared up a little bit and I wished it was like this when we were at Ribeauvillé. I had thought about going back to Ribeauvillé for photos but it must be so crowded so I gave up the idea.
This is such a big government building for such a small village!
Here it is, their water fountain…
There is a beautiful, brightly colored house filled with flowers in this square but it has a no photo sign so we wanted to be respectful and didn’t sneak a photo to show you. Go there and see it yourself 🙂
The church in the village:
The backside of Hotel De Ville:
No people at all!
Bergheim is very small, we finished walking and taking photos in 10 minutes. We still have time so I was searching where to go next….Dambach-la-Ville from one of the website’s recommendations. It was a 20 minutes drive away and when we got there…..we followed the sign for parking and there is a small parking lot that doesn’t look like a proper parking lot, urg!
We passed by this Christmas looking tree:
A few minutes walk down to the center and it was like this:
It has nothing to see! There is no charming street, no pretty square, and I don’t think I see a water fountain. Only this house was worth a sight…
A few good looking half-timbered houses:
We walked toward Église Saint-Étienne church and saw this illustration of the town; it looked prettier in the drawing! It marked “Panorama du Grand Cru Frankstein” so we decided to walk up there hoping for a good view…
10 minutes walking up hill…here it is:
Not that panoramic!
Dambach-la-Ville was a big waste of time in my opinion! We headed back to Colmar, a 30 minutes drive, to dinner. Jason found this Chinese buffet right outside Colmar Center – New Wok Tao. It is a huge buffet with nice-looking Chinese furnishing and only costs €25 per person for dinner. They have everything from local dishes:
to typical Americanized Chinese food take-out dishes:
To noodle bowls:
Pick your own meat and sauce and they have a grill station to grill it for you! Nice selection of meats too!
If you prefer seafood, they have that too!
A row of sushi rolls:
I had never seen so many flavors of ice cream at a Chinese buffet…and the mango and coconut flavors tasted great too!
Endless cakes and pastries of course!
And even a candy station for kids, how family-friendly!
The food quality and flavor were surprisingly good for the price. This meal partially satisfied my craving for vegetables, I wish they have more stir-fried vegetable dishes.
After visiting 9 towns/villages in this trip: Colmar, Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, Turckheim, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, Hunawihr, Bergheim and Dambach-la-Ville, my top 3 are Colmar, Eguisheim, and Ribeauvillé. Other towns/villages are worth a trip except for Dambach-la-Ville. I would love to come back again for their Christmas markets to see their lavish decorations, it must be a magical experience! On the other hand, I might not enjoy them as much due to the crowds, what do you think? Has anyone been to Alsace’s Christmas markets? One thing for sure is to make reservations, both hotel and restaurants!!!